To ensure every genre of art is appreciated equally in our Jackson’s Open Painting Prize, we are awarding 6 Category Prizes to our 350 Longlisted works! Upon entering, artists had to tag their work the most appropriate subject matter, choosing between Portrait/Figure, Animals, Still life/Botanical, Abstract/Non-representational, Landscape/Cityscape/Seascape and Scenes of Everyday Life. Jackson’s Judging Panel will choose one winner from each category so that all Longlisted works can be judged against works with a similar subject matter, alongside being considered for the other prizes. All 6 category prize winners will win £500 and will automatically be placed in the Shortlist.
Scenes of Everyday Life Award Winner: ‘From 15 Cromwell Road’ by Tom Harrison
‘The picture was painted from life whilst observing the ice rink in the grounds of the National History Museum from a flat across the road.’
Lisa Takahashi: Congratulations for winning the ‘Scenes From Everyday Life’ Category Prize with your wonderful painting ‘From 15 Cromwell Road’. How did you go about painting this piece – did you set your easel up in front of the window or base it on drawings/photographs?
Tom Harrison: Yes. It was quite impromptu. I was staying at my sister’s flat overlooking the winter skating rink and wanted to make a painting but was scared because it seemed so complicated. It wasn’t until I realised it would soon be closing that I took the plunge. It changed about 100 times. After a while, I had to take it away from the subject because I was going mad not being able to stand back. That’s when I calmed down and brought it back.
You served in the military and then left to complete the Drawing Year at the Royal Drawing School in 2015-6, and also won the Jerwood Drawing Prize in 2015. It sounds like those few years would have really had a significant impact on you, personally and creatively. How difficult has it been to move on from those experiences, and work independently as a professional artist?
It has been very difficult but totally self-inflicted. On leaving the Marines I was naive as to the career and life stuff around just making work. I was isolated, craving knowledge, criticism and very much wanting to move on. I stopped painting and literally went back to the beginning with drawing. I was lucky enough to study on the Drawing Year but this only goes a certain way. Someone once told me that you can teach drawing but not the poetry. It was only after a bad work spell on holiday in Singapore that I slowly grasped this. The last few days somehow I forgot my ego and insecurities and came out with some pieces that interested me. It was one of these that won the Jerwood Prize in 2015.
The hardest thing for me about working independently is the discipline to walk away and have breaks as I work at home with my girl and baby. Also not tinkering with work because it’s always around!
How would you describe your relationship with the 2 disciplines of drawing and painting – does one come more naturally to you, do you think they require different states of mind, and how does a session of drawing differ from a session of painting in terms of what you need?
Such an interesting question. Neither come naturally to me, however drawing is more instinctive now and I am managing to get a lot done with drawing to save time and money with paint and materials. When things don’t pull together, it is usually that my idea or feeling is not strong or clear enough.
For me drawing is the bare bones where there’s no hiding. I have a habit of over complicating things so being able to retrace my steps and get that original feeling back is essential.